Often when we’re talking about spring break safety in Tuscaloosa, it’s a warning to pace yourself with the booze or to always have a designated driver.
Those things are important. But our Tuscaloosa personal injury lawyers want you to recognize that you may face danger just about everywhere, as more than a dozen spring break revelers recently learned while relaxing in Gulf Shores.
According to reports, about 15 to 20 college students from Texas, were spending a sunny afternoon on the deck of a beach house, situated on the sand near the city’s West Beach area.
Suddenly, the floor collapsed from underneath them.
The call came into emergency crews that a number of those who had fallen had severe neck and head injuries. A number also had broken bones. Six of those who had fallen were rushed to the hospital.
Thankfully, officials say the injuries are not expected to be life-threatening. That in itself appears to be nothing short of a miracle, given the fact that there were also reportedly people under the deck as well.
Neighbors said the home had been packed for several days with spring breakers.
Spring break isn’t the only time this sort of thing has been known to happen. Just last year at a home in Colorado, 15 people were out on a second-story deck when it collapsed. Amazingly, no one was seriously hurt.
A similar incident in a nearby town injured a dozen people – two of them critically – occurred just a few months earlier. In fact, collapsing porches are a serious threat in many urban areas, with both Chicago and New York City taking steps to address the issue in recent years.
Three years ago, a wedding celebration in Georgia ended in chaos when nearly 20 people plunged two stories to the ground after the deck they were standing on collapsed. They were posing for photos. A total of five children were injured, including two who had to be rushed to the hospital.
So while property owners may want to place the blame on “those crazy spring-breakers” for overloading the deck, the fact is, this is a common rental hazard. Whether one is drinking or not, the expectation is that the surface beneath you isn’t going to cave in.
Part of the problem is that a number of these structures may be older. This is likely to be the case for spring breakers, who are typically college students without extra cash to spring for a top-tier hotel.
The other problem is that sometimes, the decks aren’t properly constructed, with the use of nails as opposed to lag bolts to hold the structure together. Doing it the right way, of course, costs more time and money.
If contractors cut corners with the construction, certainly they could be held liable. Additionally, a property owners may also be liable depending on the facts of the case..
Six spring-breakers hospitalized after deck collapses at beach house in Gulf Shores, March 11, 2013, By Marc D. Anderson, AL.com